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MINUTES OF THE POLICY & RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON
TUESDAY 7th MAY 2024

 

PRESENT: Cllr. Pethurst (in the Chair), Cllrs. Bunyan, Fairweather, Fletcher (in part) and Hatcher.

 

131/23: To receive apologies of absence:

Cllr. Gilbert.

 

132/23: Declaration of Interests, dispensation and Predetermination:

Members are required to declare any interests, dispensations or predetermination on items on this agenda in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct. Members are reminded that changes to the Register of Interests should be notified to the Clerk.

 

None received.

 

133/23: Internal finance check:

Cllr. Pethurst confirmed that the internal finance check had been completed and everything was in order, all paperwork had been signed and initialled.

 

134/23: Authorisation of payments made after the April meeting:

A list of payments totalling £18,130.40 made after the April meeting, is filed with these minutes.

 

135/23: Transfers of monies between accounts, including savings accounts to maximise interest revenue:

Cllr. Pethurst referred to the high value of funds being held in the Lloyds current account; this was due to the first six months of the precept being received. No interest is obtained from monies held in the current account, therefore he felt we should consider transferring £300k to an instant savings account. He had undertaken some research on the interest rates and account options for the three banks we currently use. We already have savings accounts with HSBC and Lloyds, so it would make sense to open a further account with Unity Trust to maximise interest and to act as a feeder account for the Unity Trust current account. Rates of 2.75% are currently available on a Unity Trust Instant Access Savings Account. Members agreed to ask Cllr. Page, who had expertise in this area, for his advice on the best course of action. Cllr. Pethurst proposed that until we could seek guidance from Cllr. Page, we should transfer £300K from the Lloyds Account to our Lloyds Instant Access Account which is a simple process and where we can at least obtain some interest from the monies held. This was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed. The Clerk would set the transfer up online ready for 2 signatories to authorise.

 

136/23: Invoices for Payment:

A list of payments to be made in May had been circulated, a copy of which is filed with these minutes.

 

These included:

Policy and Resources                         £12,505.24

Properties & Burial Grounds              £  4,996.39

Community Development                  £         68.50

Environmental Management            £25,911.69

 

      Total         £43,481.82

 

Cllr. Bunyan queried the invoice from EDF totalling £2,344.72 for Vestry Hall electricity.

The Clerk advised she had raised a complaint with EDF as it appears they had moved one of the meters under the account to a Freedom for business tariff at hugely inflated rates.

Members agreed that the installation of photovoltaic panels for the Vestry Hall roof, should be considered at the next Properties and Burial Grounds Committee meeting.

 

Cllr. Pethurst proposed the payments be approved as presented, this was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. Two members are required to log in to the account and authorise the payments, once ratified at Full Council. The Clerk asked if this could be completed before 3pm on Friday, thus avoiding any delay in our creditors receiving payment.

 

137/23: Insurance Renewal/Reinstatement valuations:

Quotes had been received from both Hiscox, through the broker Gallagher and Zurich. The quotes had been prepared on a like for like basis, although there was a considerable difference in cost. A 3-year Long Term Agreement with Hiscox would have an annual cost of £13,950.91, whereas a 3-year LTA with Zurich came in at £9,932.98 per annum. Members had been sent all the information relating to both quotes prior to the meeting. Members discussed the quotes in full and could not see the service provided from the broker was worth the additional cost of the premium. With this in mind, Cllr. Pethurst proposed the quote from Zurich of £9,932.98 per annum for a 3-year LTA be accepted. This was seconded by Cllr. Fletcher and agreed. The Clerk advised we were currently awaiting a desktop revaluation of the Vestry Hall Complex and Golford Chapel by Hollis Real Estate Consultants, at a cost of £500 per property. This may have a minor effect on the cost of the premium. We had been advised this was necessary as it was last undertaken in 2021.

 

138/23 Delivery of The Cake magazine:

Members agreed to look at future distribution options for the magazine.

 

139/23: Jockey Lane Accessibility Concerns:

Cllr. Pethurst referred to the issue which had been raised as a concern by a parishioner at the Annual Parish Meeting last month. The parishioner was requesting an area be allocated for dropping off people attending church. This had been discussed on numerous occasions, but the issue remains on how it is enforced? Members agreed we can only encourage people to be considerate when parking, we have no powers of enforcement at the current time. The hatched area at the top of the car park is marked as No Parking and should allow sufficient space to drop off passengers.

 

Cllr. Fairweather proposed the order of business on the agenda be amended to allow for a discussion on the Community Centre before Cllr. Fletcher had to leave the meeting; this was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed.

 

140/23: Community Centre/Medical Centre:

Cllr. Fletcher advised the G. Ps were expected to sign off the final specification in May, at which point we can start looking at the options for design and build. Members voiced concerns that the process to get the specification from the G. Ps had still not been reached. Cllr. Fletcher advised that Alison Burchell from the Kent & Medway ICB has the specification but the G. Ps need to sign off on it, as the NHS will only fund up to a certain amount, The G. Ps would be responsible for making up any shortfall.

 

Cllr. Fairweather reported he had been in discussion with Cranbrook Sports Club who had expressed interest in partnering with the Parish Council to provide a Community Centre within their new premises. The downside to this option is the location is not central, however, there is a realistic chance we could deliver a new community centre within 18 months. Cllr. Fletcher reported that the leadership team from the Sports Club, were presenting their plans at the Full Council meeting on Thursday.

 

 

 

 

141/23: Update on renewal of unmetered supply contract for streetlighting:

The Clerk advised that she had hoped to have a quote from SSE ready for tonight’s meeting. She had been assured by the broker Clearsight Energy, that one was on its way. We are currently paying exorbitant out of contract rates; therefore, it was agreed to delegate the decision whether to accept the contract to Cllrs. Pethurst and Fairweather.

 

Cllr. Fletcher left the meeting.

 

142/23: Keypad for allotment gate:

Rob Longley – Cranbrook Iron had been approached to provide a quote for a locking system for the allotment gate in Oatfield Drive. A combination padlock had been provided in the past but had caused issues for some tenants who had been unable to unlock it.  Mr Longley had suggested a good quality lock, which from the outside of the gates has a keypad with a twist handle to open the gate.  From the inside it has a simple ‘push’ pad to open.  A shroud would require fitting over the exit push pad to prevent people from easily reaching it from the outside. It also requires noting that it cannot prevent someone climbing over the gates.  The lock also relies on the drop bolt being down or the gates can be pushed open without being unlocked.  To supply a lock as described above, removal of gates to our workshop, modify as required, and rehang with lock fitted would cost £564.00. Members discussed the quote but felt it was cost prohibitive. We have investigated several options in the past, but as yet have not found an economical or equitable solution.

 

143/23: Staffing:

No issues were raised.

 

144/23: IT Support:

A report had been prepared listing the merits of each provider that had been approached to quote. Members discussed the quotes in full, along with the references provided by neighbouring parish councils. Cllr. Fairweather proposed the quote from Heliocentrix for IT Support and for hosting our website be accepted. This was seconded by Cllr. Pethurst and agreed. Following ratification of these minutes, our current provider Uprise Digital would be served notice that we wish to terminate the contract.

 

145/23: Grant Applications:

  1. a) West Kent Mediation:

An application had been received requesting a donation of £200 to help fund the organisations costs. The organisation is set up with a clear objective to help neighbours in the local area resolve their differences and bring about peaceful co-existence. Members discussed the application in full, however could not see any evidence of how the funds are spent in this parish; therefore, on this occasion, Members declined to provide any financial support, but wished the organisation well with its fund raising.

 

  1. b) Heart of Kent Hospice:

An application had been received from Heart of Kent Hospice requesting funding towards the running costs of the organisation, which provides palliative care for adults with a terminal or life limiting illness, including those living with Dementia and frailty. The care also extends to those who are closest to them, providing wrap around holistic support both before and after their bereavement for families, children and carers. A donation of £1000 can help pay for 30 hours of support by the Hospice Community Nursing Team in our area. Members discussed the application in depth and although they felt that residents were more familiar with Hospice in the Weald, as a provider in this parish, Cllr. Pethurst proposed we offer a donation of £250 to Heart of Kent Hospice, this was seconded by Cllr. Bunyan and agreed.

 

146/23: Items For Information:

None raised.

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